Pennsylvania Record

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Phila. police officer sues colleague for threatening her with loaded service pistol

By Jon Campisi | Aug 2, 2012

A Philadelphia police officer is suing one of her colleagues in federal court, alleging her

civil rights were violated when the male officer stuck a loaded gun to her head while the two were on patrol and forced her to beg for her life.

Yolaina Washington-Pope claims in her complaint, filed July 27 by Philadelphia attorney Jonathan M. Cohen, that fellow officer William Bailey stuck the muzzle of his loaded, police-issued Glock 19 service pistol to the plaintiff’s temple while the two were patrolling their 18th Police District territory at about 1 a.m. on Sept. 24, 2010.

Bailey had his finger resting on or near the trigger during the incident in which he threatened to shoot and/or kill Washington-Pope, and forced her to beg for her life, the lawsuit alleges.

“Plaintiff was obviously not free to leave with the muzzle of Officer Bailey’s loaded weapon at her head, and thus, this conduct by Officer Bailey constituted an unlawful seizure and/or arrest of Plaintiff, and a violation of Plaintiff’s right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures, and was committed without affording Plaintiff substantive or procedural due process, all in violation of Plaintiff’s civil rights under the Fourth, Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution,” the complaint reads.

The lawsuit claims that the City of Philadelphia, which is also named as a defendant in the civil action, knew that Bailey had previously, repeatedly violated official police directives and policies, including incidents regarding the use of his weapon and the violation of citizens’ rights.

Bailey had once improperly used his service weapon causing him to be “chased” by a supervisor and relieved of his weapon, although he soon had the gun quickly returned to him, the suit states.

The suit goes on to claim that Bailey had blamed his actions on his diabetes, which caused him to suffer from low blood sugar.

“The City did not dispute these claims, but rather, accepted that Officer Bailey’s misuse of his authority and/or service weapon was caused by his diabetes,” the complaint states.

The city knew all along that Bailey was not physically or mentally fit to serve as a Philadelphia police officer and to carry a loaded weapon, but officials never took the proper steps to correct the problem, according to the complaint.

As a result of her ordeal with Bailey, the suit claims, Washington-Pope has experienced mental and emotional pain and anguish, humiliation, embarrassment, and she has incurred medical expenses.

For each of the civil rights counts listed in the complaint, Washington-Pope seeks compensatory and punitive damages in excess of $150,000, plus pre-and-post-judgment interest.

A jury trial has been demanded.


The federal case number is 2:12-cv-04300-GP. 

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